Some years ago I had the impression that reading a few books was enough to make you a very good earn rate because I was in possession of information that the majority of the playing field didn’t have. That was the case some years ago but these days the games are much more tight-aggressive. However to make good money means building an earn rate from the very bottom and the first thing that you need to focus on is playing a very solid game. A solid poker game is akin to playing basic strategy in blackjack…….this is your base camp to commence future operations.
Then you simply add elements to your game and method of operation that should in theory add to your earn rate. For example earning sign up bonuses and reward points should in theory add to your earn rate and then categorising your opponents will add even more. For example let us say that you are playing NL20 and a player that is only playing on one table and only has a stack of $10 open limps for $0.20. You decide to try and isolate what is clearly a fish and you make it $0.90 to go and everybody folds bar the fish.
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You have the Qd-Jh and the flop comes Ah-3s-5c and your opponent checks. You decide to bet $1.40 into the $2.10 pot and the fish calls. The turn card is the 6h and the fish checks again. Now this is where I would be very careful about betting again because when a fish is looking to put money into the pot like this then this is a clear indication that they will continue to do so. They have placed 23% of their stack into the middle and now only have $7.70 left.
You have basically done your job in this hand and isolated against the fish and attempted to get them to fold. The signs are though that they are not going to fold and the ace hasn’t even scared them. The fact is that you outplay weaker players by reading situations better than them and not by blasting them out of pots. In fact this is incredibly bad play when your opponent isn’t going to fold. Now change that to a normal tight-aggressive player and they would have probably folded their hand pre-flop rather than limp in or alternatively raised with it.
Good players try and create two situations to win a hand of poker. They try and get their opponent to fold first and foremost and secondly they try and make the best hand. In six handed games then aggressive players will be important to recognise because they can possibly call you post flop without much of a hand at the higher levels of play. If you fail to classify your opponents properly then you will make many incorrect decisions at the table. For example if your opponent is playing six tables in full ring NL100 and suddenly makes it $3.50 to go under the gun then you cannot 3/bet with anything less than AA-QQ and AK.
Their range is so tight from that position and if this player was a passive player then the situation is probably worse. The bottom line is though that your opponents and how they play will have a big impact on your earn rate. If you can use general classifications to rate your opponents then this can allow you to game select quite rapidly. For example I know many players that have used or do use tracking software. I use tracking software and there are pro’s and con’s to doing so.